US stocks sink on weak earnings; Nasdaq down 1.9 per cent

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 27, 2015. Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower Tuesday following a disappointing stream of corporate earnings and mixed US economic data. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 27, 2015. Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower Tuesday following a disappointing stream of corporate earnings and mixed US economic data. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower Tuesday following a disappointing stream of corporate earnings and mixed US economic data.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,391.29, down 287.41 points (1.63 per cent).

The Dow had fallen nearly 400 points earlier in the session.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 27.21 (1.32 per cent) to 2,029.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plummeted 89.80 (1.88 per cent) to 4,681.96.

Dow component Caterpillar sank 7.2 per cent as earnings suffered due to weakness in the oil sector, while Microsoft slumped 9.2 per cent on a disappointing outlook.

Other big companies also dropped following poor results.

"I think what we're seeing is concern on both the economics and earnings front," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Capital IQ.

Investors were troubled by a 3.4 per cent drop in US durable goods orders in December, which offset a Conference Board report that said US consumer confidence jumped in January to its highest level in more than seven years.